Iran: Rethinking The Alliance
April 16, 2004
by Dariush Shirazi
Many on the left, most visibly Presidential contender John Kerry, often claim that the "coalition of the willing" is weak and that participation from the international community has been minimal if anything. Opponents of President Bush use such claims in order to discredit the legitimacy of this noble endeavor for freedom. It may not be such a bad idea to look at the state of our coalition, not in an effort to attack President Bush, but rather to conduct a healthy reassessment and critique of the coalition and our allies.
11 days ago, Michael Rubin returned from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, and upon his return resigned from the Pentagon. In recent weeks Mr. Rubin has expressed his views regarding the region, most notably illustrating the many links between the Islamic clerical regime in Iran and much of the violence that has broken out across Iraq, evident in the actions of Al Sadr and his fanatical brigade who have reportedly received millions of dollars in funding from the mullahs in Iran.
An article published in the Telegraph of London yesterday quoted Mr. Rubin's sentiments that "British officials clearly had little interest in pursuing the White House vision of a democratic Iraq, a keystone of its foreign policy, and were too 'soft' in confronting dissent." The article goes on to say that "many US officials had been startled at their British counterparts' attempts to capitalize on their presence in southern Iraq for a 'freelance' fostering of ties with Iran, one of Washington's most implacable enemies." The article also discusses the tension between Paul Bremer and his British counterpart, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, by quoting a provisional authority insider who said, "There was an understanding in the CPA that Bremer and Greenstock didn't like each other. It personified the differences between the two views. Greenstock thought Bremer was naive; Bremer thought Greenstock was pursuing the wrong policies."
It is no big surprise to many who have followed the region's history and the mullahcracy's economic ties with nations who proclaim to be supporters in the War on Terror, that such concerns are now gaining visibility. Because we cannot continue to escape the truth by thinking of this historic conflict in the same superficial light the media shines on it, we are obliged to look carefully at the fact that the British government has been a staunch supporter of the regime in Iran since the early days of the Islamic Republic, although this relationship has scarcely been mentioned until now. Mr. Rubin's statements represent some of the first high-level public acknowledgments of this worrisome arrangement.
Michael Rubin's resignation is not the first of its kind. Richard Perle, a strong supporter of freedom throughout the Middle East, resigned from the Defense Policy Board in February. These resignations and statements that have recently surfaced all raise the question: are the so-called "neocons", or those who believe in America's duty to nurture and defend freedom throughout the world, including Iran, unhappy with the direction in which the Bush administration is now headed, and is it perhaps even plausible to suggest that the ideology of the Richard Armitage/Colin Powell types, who believe Iran is a "sort-of" democracy, gaining ground?
We cannot forget that the the British have contributed around 10,000 troops to the Iraqi theater, but as Americans, should we really be thankful? British deployments have been exclusively located in regions of Iraq that have been uncannily stable since the fall of Saddam's regime, a region that is also heavily Shiite. Dozens of reports have been issued that explain the influx of Islamic-regime sponsored agents and clerics since the US invasion, but why aren't British forces who occupy Shiite regions in southeastern Iraq, an ideological safe haven and staging ground for the Mullah's agents, experiencing the same sort of turbulence that American soldiers are experiencing elsewhere? Of course these are all questions, but they are questions that need to be asked, because if it is determined that there is some correlation between resistance that certain coalition forces (American soldiers) are facing and British trade agreements with Iran, then perhaps the United States should ask the Mullahs to bestow similar kindness to American forces.
Considering the importance of this momentous effort to free the people of the Middle East (both Arabs and Persians), it is critical that the allies of liberty, human rights and justice all have the same goals and objectives in mind, because in the end there is only one kind of freedom. If it is discovered to be the case that a particular ally has objectives that are not in alignment with ours, then it is better we address this problem sooner rather than later, before we reach the point of no return.
Forward-thinking analysts and intellectuals rightfully believe that in order for Iraq to stabilize and institutions of freedom and justice to succeed, the regime in Iran must fall. A free and democratic Iraq would be a major blow to the Mullahs, which would likely result in an overthrow of the regime, and the only thing the Mullahs fear more than an all out military assault against their nuclear sites is the overthrow of their illegitimate mafia rule. They will use all means available to prevent such a scenario; they will continue to stir unrest throughout Iraq, with hopes that democracy will not rise and President Bush will not be re-elected.
Ultimately, the question we should be demanding that the Bush Administration, Congress and Senate ask themselves is: if the British have close economic ties and relationships with the regime in Iran, but are also part of the coalition to bring freedom to the peoples of the region, does such an arrangement signify a conflict of interest, and if it does, how should such a conflict be resolved? As the battle wages, the only wrong policy is to accuse the United States of being "naive" in our struggle to bring freedom to those who shed tears of blood as they await their liberation.
Dariush Shirazi is a pseudonym of an Iranian-American university student and Los Angeles-based freelance journalist. http://mensnewsdaily.com/archive/s/shirazi/04/shirazi041604.htm